Friday, 23 April 2010

SBA Awards in London

Spent the day in London, before attending the SBA diploma awards at Westminster. Here's a picture of Sarah receiving her diploma for Botanical art.

We're staying on a camp site in Chertsey, in the caravan. It's our first time away in the van for nearly a year and it is good to be back on the road. The weather is bright and sunny. No mud. It's funny how it goes - this is our fourth time back to London in only two months. We were here, at Heathrow, for Eastercon, only a two weeks ago.

This time it's Sarah's weekend, though, and the course has been a tough two-and-a-half years for her. She's happy to get to the end but also a little sad, she says, as it leaves a big hole in her life now that the work is finished.

Mind you, I'm sure that the picture she sold in the exhibition, here, will help to cheer her up a bit. We have a bit of friendly rivalry, picture sales vs story sales, and right now she's winning by a mile.

Sunday, 11 April 2010


Went to a book signing this weekend to see my friend, Jon Mayhew, signing copies of his YA novel, Mortlock.

Here's a picture of me getting my own copy signed.

I'm quite excited about Mortlock because I have a feeling it is going to be big. Really big. It's a fine shiny hardback, and they've done something funky with the page edges. They're black. And when you open the book the first page is completely red. It's all very very funereal and eye-catching.
I've heard some of the story already - Jon has read parts of it at Wirral Writers - and from what I've heard so far this book is getting bumped right up to the top of my waiting-to-be-read pile. It's a good 'un.
And it's not just me plugging a mate, Mortlock is getting some rave reviews, including this one in the Guardian: And on Saturday there were queues of eager kids winding out of the door of the shop. I had to wait my turn.

Mortlock is published by Bloomsbury.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Eastercon – Afterthoughts

Back home after a truly excellent Eastercon weekend. Stepping out of the hotel there was a certain amount of blinking and squinting at the unfamiliar sight of natural daylight, and the process of starting the car seemed to have become a complex and overly fussy operation that I barely remembered having mastered before the con. The journey home was okay, but there is a lingering and inevitable sense of displacement on re-entering the real world.

Enough of that – what were the highlights?

Top of the list was Writers and the Web, a panel that featured Joe Abercrombie, Maura McHugh, John Meaney and Mark Charan Newton. I didn't know any of these writers in advance (there are so many out there) but as a result of this panel I will be making a bee-line for their books, because they were, each one, thoroughly entertaining - the only disappointment being the moment when the hour came to an end. It just goes to show, a talent for live interaction with an audience can be so useful. (Note to me – you do not have this talent, do not try it. Ever!)

Oh, and as well as entertaining they gave out some useful advice, like keep your blog up to date. Or a least be consistent about how often you up date it. And if you can't keep it up to date, don't start one. (Bit late for that now.) And blogging is okay for a writer but it's more important to do the actual writing. Yeah, I've just noticed that scribbled note and I've strayed from the advice within an hour of getting home. So this will now be a short blog. In fact I'll switch to bullet points. Then I'll do some actual writing.

So... Other highlights:

  • SF/F and social media (in which some of the veil of mystery attached to Twittering was revealed to me.)
  • Non-Euclidean Geometry – Nicholas Jackson. (Because I almost understood some of it.)
  • Pyrotechnics display by Stephen Miller (because he didn't raise the hotel to ground, especially as Sarah and I were in it at the time.)
  • Fusion Power by Anthony Webster (because I have a thing about fusion, something to do with not wanting to go back to a manual typewriter any time soon.)
  • Writing for Audio, (Jack Bowman, Paul Cornell, James Swallow, Philip Palmer and Martin Easterbrook.) I love any radio that avoids music and jingles but especially radio and podcast drama, so this was a gem of a panel. The Wireless Theatre Company is one to subscribe to. (I might even try writing a bit for this medium some time.)
  • The Hugo Nominations (Yay, go Starship Sofa.)

And some honourable mentions:

  • Tax and Royalties – bit close to the day job, perhaps, but could save me a few bob in the long run.
  • GoH Alastair Reynolds' talk, especially his ability to wing it for a while when the tech failed.
  • The little cubes of fried potatoes at breakfast. Loved these. Probably loved them too much. Probably love hotel breakfasts too much in general.

And now Odyssey2010 is over and I'm thinking about Birmingham next year. But I really have gone on a bit and I'd better do some proper writing – the kind with plots and grammar and some of the words spelled right.

Friday, 2 April 2010


Taking a few quiet moments to clear my head. I'm on my second visit to London in two days. On Wednesday I came down on the train for a meeting at work, I stayed overnight then straight back home on the train next day. Sarah collected me from the station, I dumped the contents of my case into the laundry, repacked - then, 4am alarm, quick shower and we're in the car heading down the M6 for Heathrow and the 2010 Eastercon.

Arrived late morning and we've had a full afternoon and evening of panels. Probably the best so far was the smallest – a panel about podcasting. I picked up the names of a couple of new ones I hadn't heard of before and they'll go straight onto my itunes subscription list as soon as I'm back home. (Ghost in the Machine sounds especially tempting.) All I need is about ten extra hours each day to listen to them all.

What's in store tomorrow? Oh, I don't know, I'm going to wing it. Depends if I wake up before tea time.